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"Our constituents can't pay, they don't have the ability to," Nea Ionia mayor Ilias Gotsis said. "We consider the new tax to be illegal. But in essence, the truth is our people just can't pay." Local officials believe mass nonpayment could derail the law and the municipality hopes to persuade as many of its 70,000 residents as possible to join the campaign.
Every Oct. 28 Greece celebrates “Oxi Day,” or “ ‘No’ Day,” a national holiday commemorating Greek resistance to the Axis powers during World War II. On Friday, those celebrations took on a greater weight. As Greeks suffer from harsh austerity measures, there is growing popular sentiment here that the country has ceded key parts of its sovereignty, and its pride, to its foreign lenders.
Here in Greece, anger is running so high — especially toward Germany, whose Nazi occupation still leaves deep scars here and who now dominates the European Union’s bailout of debt-ridden Greece — that National Day celebrations were called off on Friday in the northern city of Thessaloniki for the first time ever after a group shouted “traitor” to the Greek president, Karolos Papoulias.
One highly delicate, unresolved question, in negotiations between the European Union and banks over the Greek debt deal, is whether future Greek bonds will be governed by international law, not Greek law, which currently governs 90 percent of Greek bonds. Such a change — aimed at preventing Greece from changing its laws to the detriment of creditors — would be unprecedented for a European Union member country.